Fri, Jul 13, 2018 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Foreign interns restricted

Foreigners have been banned from working as interns for members of parliament, a Senate spokesman said yesterday, in a reform apparently aimed at blocking Chinese prying. The program placing young people in a much-prized position working for a federal legislator for three months had been open to all nationalities, as long as the applicant did not have a criminal record. The spokesman declined to comment on what prompted the alteration. The Financial Times in September last year reported that a New Zealand citizen who had previously interned at an Australian parliamentary committee had links to a Chinese military spy school, prompting a review of the intern system, which concluded that standards should be bought in line with the rest of the government. Chinese students had often applied to the program and many worked as interns over the years.

AUSTRALIA

PNG, Solomons ink deal

Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands on Wednesday signed onto a joint undersea Internet cable project, funded mostly by Australia, that forestalls plans by Chinese telecom Huawei Technologies to lay the links itself. Australia is to pay two-thirds of the project cost of A$136.6 million (US$100.9 million) under the deal, signed on a visit to Brisbane by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. “We spend billions of dollars a year on foreign aid and this is a very practical way of investing in the future economic growth of our neighbors in the Pacific,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters. The project, for which Australian telecom Vocus Group is building the cable, is to link the two nations to the Australian mainland, besides connecting the Solomons capital Honiara with the archipelago’s outer islands.

CHINA

MeToo fells professor

Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou has suspended a prominent primatologist in a victory for the nation’s slow-building #MeToo movement. The university yesterday announced that it would suspend Zhang Peng (張鵬) and revoke his honorary titles after confirming two complaints from female students. It did not disclose the allegations, but said it had “zero tolerance” for teacher misconduct and would safeguard students’ legal rights. Zhang held visiting positions at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Kyoto, and had been inducted into the Chang Jiang national fellowship program. The #MeToo discussion has drawn in Chinese state media, including the People’s Daily, which urged schools to listen to “young people’s voices” and address complaints without being evasive.

UNITED STATES

Python found in hard drive

A passenger with a python hidden inside an external hard drive was stopped from boarding a Florida plane headed to Barbados. The Miami Herald on Sunday reported that officers screening luggage at Miami International Airport found an “organic mass” inside a checked bag. A bomb expert then examined the bag and discovered the live snake in the hard drive, Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said, adding that the snake was “obviously not an imminent terrorist threat,” but its interception prevented a possible wildlife threat. The passenger was fined and the snake was taken into custody by Fish and Wildlife Services.

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